Thoothukudi is the head quarters of the Thoothukudi District. Thoothukudi is renowned for pearl fishing, production of salt and other related business. Now Thoothukudi is a port city in the southern region of Tamil nadu. This is a natural port. Freedom fighter V O. Chidambaram Pillai operated ship against British supremacy from Thoothukudi. Once the district with Thoomukudi as head quarters was called Chidambaranar District. Now the Thoothukudi Port is called as V.O. Chidambaranar Port. Roche Park, 4 Kms from Thoothukudi city on the way to new port is a lovely sea shore for holiday seekers.
Ottapidaram continues to be a Tourism centre for freedom fighters, since it is the birth place of the great patriot V O. Chidamaram pillai. His house has been converted into a memorial and is preserved by the Government of Tamil Nadu from 12.12.1961. His statue, photo galleries detailing his life history are displayed in his memorial. It is situated at 2/119, V.O.C. Street, Ottapidaram.
A memorial to the late RobertAshe, the then Collector of the Tirunelveli District who was assassinated in 1911 at Maniyachi has been built here to perpetuate his memory. The British Government at that time built a Mandapam at the eastern end of the Great Cotton Road with the public subscription.
Vallanadu Blackbuck Sanctuary
This Sanctruary with Black-buck (deer) is located in Vallanadu. Scrub jungle with a hill-lock is their breeding ground of the Black-buck here. It is in Tirunelveli to Thoothukudi bus route, 18 Kms from Tirunelveli and 35 Kms from Thoothukudi.
This 12th Century village, recorded by foreign traveller of 18th century is located on the main road from Tiruchendur to Thoothukudi with a slight detour at Mukkani bridge road or Athoor. It is 29 Kms from Tiruchendur. There is a tank called Korkaikulam with an extent of 250 acres. It was the ancient port of Pandia dynasty. Ancient Vettrivelamman Temple is also located here. Archeological remains kept in a museum here are worth to be seen. Korkai is recognised as an ancient Port City.An attempt is made now to locate the port based on field exploration, folk beliefs and coastal geology and geomorphology.
Panchalankurichi is a small historic village 25 Kms from Thoothukudi and 55 Kms from Tirunelveli. From here the Great warrior Kattabomman popularly known as "Veerapandiya Kattabomman" raised his voice against the British regime in the 17th century A.D.The existing Memorial Fort was constructed in 1974. by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Memorial Hall, has beautiful paintings on the walls depicting the heroic deeds of the saga which give a vivid idea about the history of the period.Sri Devi Jakkammal Temple, the hereditary Goddes of Kattabomman is located near the fort. Cemetery of British soldiers are also existing near the fort. The rest of the old fort is protected by the Department ofArchaeology Government of Tamil Nadu. The festival held in 15th January and in the second week of May every year attracts thousands of people. Open from 8.A.M to 1 P.M and 2 P.M to 6 P.M. The entrance fee is Rs. 2/- for adults and Re. 1/- for Children. The rest house is also available here.
Kayathar is situated about 25 Kms from Tirunelveli on the way to Madurai. Kattabomman, one of the earliest opponents of British rule in India was hanged on a Tamarind tree, by the British on 16.10.1799 at Kayathar. A memorial has been built here by the Tamil Nadu Government for Kattabomman.
It is 20 Kms from Tirunelveli on the way to Tiruchendur From an Archaeological point of view, this place has glorious past and it is located on the banks of river Tamirabarani. It is assumed that, in ancient times a civilized habitation flourished here. Some monuments i.e.,Urns (burnt-clay vessels which were used for burying dead bodies during ancient days) small mud vessels were found near the river Tamirabarani and they are supportive evidence, for the civilization. This place is now under the control of Tamil Nadu State Archaeological Department
It is in Tiruchendur to Kanyakumari road (ECR) 18 Kms from Tiruchendur. An ancient Holy Cross Church associated with St. Francis Xavier is located here. The small village is having many beautiful churches. Hence it is called as little Jerusalem. Unpolluted Beach attracts large number of tourists.
This is the birth place of the revolutionary poet Subramaniya Bharathiyar. Umaru Pulavar Dharga is also located here. Ettayapuram is located 76 Kms from Tirunelveli. 22 Kms from Kovilpatti and 35 Kms from Thoothukudi.In memory of National Poet Subramania Bharathiyar, a memorial was built by Kalki Krishna Moorthy in 1945 and Mahatma Gandhi showered his blessings on the occasion of the opening.
Srivaikuntam is about 30 kms from Tirunelveli on the Tiruchendur road. The story goes that the Lord, disguised as a thief, presented himself before the King to save the (real) thief. Hence, the Lord here is also known.From Srivaikuntam, one can take an auto/taxi to go around the other eight temples. Every year in the month of September or October (Tamil month Purattasi) all Saturdays the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operate special buses to these Nava - Thirupathi. Thirupathi Temples from Tirunelveli New Bus-stand. Advance booking is also done. as KallarPiran (Kalla meaning thief). In Vishnu temples, Adisesh, the Serpent God unfurls his hood over Vishnu in a reclining posture. A unique feature of the Lord here is that Adisesh has his hood above the Lord in standing posture, one of its kind in the 108 Divya Desams. Another feature of the temple is that the sun's rays falls directly on Lord Vaikuntanathan on two days (April-May and October-November period) every year. It is believed that this temple was used as a fort in the fight between the legendary freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman and the British in the 1800s. Buses ply every 10 minutes on this route from Tirunelveli new bus stand.
It is situated in the centre of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kovilpatti. It is 31 Kms from Thoothukudi, 29 Kms from Tirunelveli and 30 Kms from Kovilpatti. The Maniyachi Railway Station where the British Collector "Ashe" was shot by freedom fighter Vanchinathan, one of the important events in the Indian history of independence.
Vembar is a small town on the shores of the Gulf of Mannar, in Tuticorin District. It is located near the districts, border with Ramanathapuram District, 13 Kms South of Sayalkudi. Madurai is 97 Kms north-west while Tirunelveli is 85 Kms west. Vembar have three islands - Nalla thanni island, Uppu thanni island, Chali island. Vembar is located in ECR, with a fine beach.
It is located on the main road from Thukudi to Tiruchendur with a beautiful beach. It is 8 Kms from Tiruchendur and 32 Kms from Thukudi. It is on the shore of Bay of Bengal. This small village is mostly inhabited by Muslims who, it is said originally came from Arabia and worked for Pandya Kings particularly in collecting pearls and chanks.
It is 10 Kms from Tiruchendur on the way to Tirunelveli. Natural water gushes out from this spring throughout the year. A temple is dedicated to the village deity Ayyanar. It has now been developed into a beautiful picnic centre. Nearby this spring one can admire the forest with sand dunes.
It is one of the major pilgrim centres of South India. The sea-shore temple dedicated to Lord Muruga is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. (Arupadai Veedu) The nine storied temple tower (157 feet) belongs to 17th century A.D. Visiting Valli Cave, taking sea-bath and bathing in Naazhikkinaru can be done here apart from visting the main temple. It is 40 Kms from Thoothukudi and 60 Kms from Tirunelveldt is well connected by bus and train to all major towns. Arid their forests are located in various suburban villages surrounding the town. These red soil forests are densely planted with palm trees, cashew plantations and other crops typical of the region. The seashore Murugan temple at Tiruchendur is one of the delightful spots sanctified and venerated by every Hindu. As one of the first spiritual centres for the salvation of man, His shrine has been an attraction for Hindus for ages. This sacred house of God is in the extreme southwest of the Indian peninsula. The rising sun bows in adoration of it each morning as he rises from the rippling expanse of the ocean, and spreads light and life over every living object. Bordered by the sea on the East and the North, the temple walls on these sides are washed by the foaming waves of the Gulf of Mannar The date of the temple is hidden in the Puranic past. The nucleus of the structure however has been here for more than 2,000 years as the Tamil Classics inform us. Lord Muruga's association with Tiruchendur is highly significant. It is described in extenso in His epic, the Skanda Puranam. The young Muruga as the Devasenapati vanquishes evil in the form of Surapatuma. The Tamils have ever since been celebrating the event as an annual festival during Skanda Sashti. Tiruchentil means as it does, the House of Victory. It borders the sea and has all the natural charm of a hero's fortress. It is verily a haven of Peace and Bliss. The Tamils in this part of the peninsula have such an attraction for the place and its presiding Lord Arumuga Nayinar.
Kulasekarapattinam is situated on the way to Kanniyakumari from Tiruchendur. This village is famous for Mutharamman Temple, which is located on the shore of Bay of Bengal. This temple is nearly 150 years old. The Dhasara Festival is celebrated in a grand manner every year in October. Folk artists from throughout Tamil Nadu perform variety of cultural programmes during the Dhasara Festival. Kulasekarapattinam is 20 Kms from Tiruchendur and 65 kms from Kanniyakumari.Formerly there was a port and an ancient Siva temple here belongs to 16th Century.
It is 60 Kms from Tirunelveli and 21 Kms from Kovilpatti in Sankarankovil bus route. Cave temple of Lord Muruga is worth seeing. A shrine for Lord Shiva belongs to 13th Century is also here Ancient Jain panel carvings are worth visiting. Vettuvan Koil of 8th Century, fine rock-cut carvings on a rock are also worth visiting.
Sinthalakkarai is one such pilgrim centre with Goddes Sri Vekkaliamman of 42 feet height. It is in Madurai - Thoothukudi route. The statue of Mahavishnu of 72 feet long in Rajasayanam on the snake in Thiruparkadal is also there.
Nava - Thirupathi
These are nine Vishnu temples on either side of Tamaraibarani river off the Tirunelveli - Tiruchendur state highway. Nammazhvar is the only Azhvaar to have sung at the Nava Tirupathi temples. One can start the Nava - Thirupathi trip from Sri Vaikuntam and end with Azhvaar Tirunagari.
Thiruvaraguna Mangai temple is about two kms east of Srivaikuntam and is known to many as the Vishnu temple at Natham. True to his name, Lord Vijayaasanar is seen to be sitting majestically like a victorious king on the throne. It is believed that a visit to this temple will help one attain moksha. This place is said to be a Chandran Kshetram.
One km east of Natham is the Lord KaasinaVenthar temple at Thirupuliangudi. The east-facing Lord is seen in a reclining posture with a lotus stalk from his navel terminating in a flower on Brahma's image on the wall of the sanctum. The story goes that Vishnu, along with Goddess Sridevi, came down to visit this place. Angered at being ignored for the trip,Goddess Bhoodevi hid herself in the netherworld. After Vishnu pacified her, it is believed that the two goddesses came back together and gave darshan here with the Lord. An interesting feature of the temple is that Vishnu's feet can be viewed through a small window in the passage.
Erettai Thirupathi or twin temples that lie within a 100 yards of each other in the middle of a jungle. The first of the two temples has Lord Devapiran in a standing posture facing east. Sage Suprabhar who performed a yagna at this place relieved a man and a woman from Kubera's curse, which had turned them into a measuring scale (tulai) and a bow (villi). Hence this place is called Tulai Villi Mangalam. At the second temple, one finds Lord Aravindalochanar in a seated posture facing east.Legend has it that Lord Vishnu was impressed with Sage Suprabhar's daily lotus pooja and gave darshan to the sage on the northern banks of Tamaraibarani. Hence, it is believed that one who does special 'Lotus Flower' pooja at this temple will be relieved of all sins.
Thirukuzhanthai temple- (Perunkulam)
The Maayakoothan temple at Thirukuzhanthai is about 10 Kms east of Srivaikuntam. Legend has it that Vishnu went on his Garuda Vaahan to rescue Goddess Lakshmi from an Asura. Hence, one finds Garuda as the Utsav deity here. In the battle that ensued, Vishnu is said to have performed his victory dance standing on Asura's body and hence the name 'MaayaKoothan'.
On the South bank of Tamaraibarani, one finds the big Nigaril Mugilvannan temple at ThenThiruperai, where the Lord is seen in a seated posture facing east. Legend has it that Goddess Bhoodevi found two fish-shaped ear rings while performing a penance to relieve herself of Sage Durvasa's curse and offered it to the Lord. Another story is that Varuna (the rain god) performed a penance here to be relieved of his curse.As a mark of this episode, it is believed that Varuna, visits this temple, every year, on the full moon day in the month of Panguni (March-April) and worships Vishnu.
3 Km south west of Thenthiruperai is the Vaitha Maa Nidhi temple at Thirukkolur, where the Lord is in a reclining posture facing east. This is the birth place of MaduraKaviAzhvaar, the ardent devotee of Nammazhvaar. Legend has it that Kubera attained salvation from Goddess Parvati's curse at this place and it was here that his Nava Nidhis were restored. It is said that a visit to this temple will help one recover lost wealth.
Our last halt at the Nava Tirupathi temples is the AadiNaathan temple. Lord Nambi of Thirukkurungkudi is believed to have been born here as Nammazhvaar. When born, Nammazhvaar is said to have not opened his eyes or cried. He resided under a tamarind tree within the temple for 16 years till he met Madurakavi (who was to later become his disciple) who posed some interesting questions about life. So impressed was MaduraKavi (Azhvaar) with Nammazhvaar's answers, that he said, "I do not need God, Nammazhvaar is enough". An important festival at this temple is the Vaikasi Utsav, when the deities from all the Nava Tirupathi temples congregate here to listen to the Paasurams with Nammazhvaar seated on the Hamsa Vaahan. This is one of the three Divya Desams in TN where Araiyar Sevai, the visual song and dance enactment of the Paasurams is still being performed. Most of the inscriptions here date back to 1000 years.
Nava - Kailayam
Nine Lord Siva Shrines called as Navagraghas which gives health and wealth to the pilgrims. Among the Nine Siva Temples five are situated in.
1.Papanasam - 45 Kms from Tirunelveli. The presiding deity of the temple is Pabavinasar alias Kailasanathar. Agood picnic spot also.
2.Cheran Mahadevi - 22 Kms from Tirunelveli. The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Ammainathar alias Kailasanathar.
3.Kodaganallu - 15 Kms from Tirunelveli on the way to Cheranmahadevi. The temple is located near Nadukkallur. The presiding deity is Kailasanathar.
Thoothukudi district and rest of them in Thirunelveli district. The following are referred as Nava - Kailayam shrines. All the temples are well connected by bus service.
Panimayamatha Church (Our Lady of Snows)
One famous Church named -Lady of snow" is here. It is built by Portuguese in 1711. Every year on 5th August a grand festival is celebrated here.
It is 13 Kms from Tiruchendur and known as an ancient and famous Christian village. The Pari Pauvlin Church here was built in 1847. It is 110 feet long, 55 feet wide with steeple in the front soaring into the sky with a height of 192 feet. This is one of the biggest churches with the tallest steeple in India.
Manal Matha Church
Sokkanakudiyiruppu is a very small village with a lot of Hindus. The 4" Church was existing which was administered by the people of the nearby village Kanakkankudiyiruppu. As number of Catholics increased. the present church of St. James and Stanisla was started in the time of Fr. Nevis Kuschan. After him, Fr. John Mancher from Anaikarai took care of the building work. completed it and consecrated it. Manal Matha pilgrimage center is a famous substation of this parish.
Punnaikayal seems to have been in Portuguese possession on the southern Coast of India for a period of 50 years after their arrival from 1551. They established two hospitals a seminary and a mud fort here. The first Tamil Printing press was set up at Punnaikayal in 1579. The Tamil Types had been made by Fr. Juan de Pereira. Fr. Anriquez himself composed the books in Tamil.
Puliampatti is situated in the middle of Tirunelveli and Ootapidaram. The Church located in the place where St. Francis Xavier is believed to have stayed for a while in the course of his missionary journey along the coastal belt of the Bay of Bengal. Every Tuesday a special Mass is conducted at St. Antony's Church. Every year January last week a festival is celebrated and a large number of people (all religion) from all over Tamil Nadu participates in this festival.